Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I am not white

There has been an interesting discussion on the SCBWI liststerve that I subscribe to...about race/ethnicity and writing for children.  One of the questions brought up is whether or not it is ok for a 'white' person to write about people of color? I think it depends on your experience, and what you know best (however fantasy writers don't know about flying and magicians and dragons any more than I do)...but we are all people of color, different colors, and sometimes different colors at different times. My skin color is not white, copy paper is white. I am sort of peachy-gold, tanner and more freckled in summer than winter. Our family discussed this when filling out our census forms. I wrote in European American. My ancestors, or at least the ones I know about, mostly came to the US many generations ago, from Sweden, England, Scotland, Germany, but there are many more I don't know about at all... I have lived all my life in the multi-ethnic bay area, which I think colors my world immensely. The author/illustrator Karen Katz wrote a great kids' book about comparing skin color to spices (The Colors of Us) like cinnamon, cloves, and cumin. Wouldn't that be fun to write in on your census form? I think I might be pink peppercorns mixed with some mustard.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the thoughts and the recommendation of The Colors of Us. The topic of race is part of an ongoing discussion with some of the other parents at Enzo's preschool. We are all grappling with how to start conversations about race and ethnicity with our kids.

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  2. Really a great idea which you have shared white us...u have tell us about a beautiful theory of colours... now we are ready to discuss these things with our next generation... good job.

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  3. Most people's skin isn't any one color anyway. And people in the same family don't always have the same skin color. Or the same person may have different colors at different times. (Do not feed an infant strained carrots as their only solid food. It WILL turn them orange if their skin is light.) But the one color I really hate is bright red (especially when it blisters. Sunscreen for me.)

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